Friday, 8 December 2017

Splendid Little War

My latest Wargame Vault production has finally hit the streets after a busy few weeks getting the finishing touches in place. "Splendid Little War" covers the Spanish American War of 1898, and features a short history of the war, a campaign system covering both the Caribbean and the Philippines, and my "Broadside and Salvo" pre-dreadnought rules. The set comprises a 60 page book, A3 copies of the campaign area maps, ship counters for US, Spanish and other nations vessels, and a set of patrol/blockade counters for use on the campaign maps. The approach is based on my earlier "White Bear Red Sun" campaign pack for the Russo Japanese War, but builds on that system in a  number of areas.

Astute readers will be aware that the war at sea ended up being something of a one sided affair due to the poor material state of much of the Spanish fleet, so the campaign allows players to work with the Spaniards as they should have been with well maintained ships and operational weapons, as well as the historical state of poorly maintained ships with inoperable weapons (and in some cases, main armament not even fitted). For added fun there are options to allow British, German and other European national interventions, so plenty of scope for some unusual actions in a historical setting.

I'm rather pleased at how this one has turned out. And it gave me the ideal excuse to spruce up my US pre-dreads and splurge on some of the lovely WTJ 3D printed models!

Splendid Little War can be found here:

Sunday, 3 December 2017


Astute readers may be aware of Hysterical Games' "Panzerfauste" fantasy WW2 setting ans skirmish figures in 28mm. Hysterical are now extending into the air with "Spitfyre", a game of air combat and air beasts. Spitfyre was the subject of an extremely successful Kickstarter project in hOctober/November this year with the target met in just a few days and a number of stretch goals achieved. The rules themselves use my "Air War C21" system as their basis and we are going trough last minute tweaking to give them an "air beast" feel to them as opposed to a more traditional air combat game between aircraft.

The game features Orc Spitfyres (small dragons) versus Dwarf war eagles, KampfGeier 87 vulture dive bombers, Condor transports, war bats, pigeon bombers and more. Clearly a lot of (warped) imagination has gone into this game.

I'd seen the 3D renders on th Kickstater page ans was impressed, but then I saw the prototype models at Warfare and then again at Reveille - by now painted in splendid schemes. They are truly lovely!

Initial deliveries of the starter set are due for early 2018, with stretches and the "eagles over Branz-um" expansion arriving in the middle of the year. Should be a good fun game to take to club night, and an opportunity to use those old FFG dragons from their D&D dragon air combat game that never really got off the ground :)

Wednesday, 15 November 2017


Today I unearthed one of my projects from about 5 or 6 years back; Napoleonic frigate actions in 1/450(ish) using the old Airfix "HMS Shannon" model as a basis. I have made up three of these plus a model of the USS Constitution (was this a Lindberg kit?), but they've been languishing in a box since before our first house move. A chat on Facebook about the Airfix "Victory" model prompted my memory on these and there was a request for some photos , so here they are. Very much a work in progress, bit I may just have to crack on and sort these out now (in between finishing off my new 1/3000 Span-Am models - more on those at the weekend!)

PS any ideas on what I could use for ratlines on these models? 

Monday, 13 November 2017


My lack of posting might suggest that I've not been up to much recently, but that would be wrong. At present there are 1/3000 Spainsh American warships, 20mm Japanese ans Australian WW2 forces, a load of generic satellites for my SF spaceship gaming and several 1/1200 ACW forts on my wrk bench.

But recently completed were two 15mm IS-3 tanks from Zvezda to go with my WW2 Winter Skirmish collection. Its a lovely model, builds up very quickly and easily into the rather modern looking Russian classic. Some stowage and a grubby whitewashed paint scheme completes the models, with which I'm very pleased as they bring back happy memories of my 1/76 Airfix model (for which I rebuilt the turret since the rear shape was completely wrong).

Saturday, 7 October 2017

Blast Tastic 2017

This morning I popped down to Michael Stockin's "Blast Tastic" Sci Fi wargames show in Filton, Bristol. This was the 4th year of the show and alas the last, as Mike has decided to draw stumps on the show for now. That is a pity as the show always has the promise to be the successor to the SFSFW's "Ragnarok" show but it was not to be.

Anyway, the show was a small but happy and fun affair, with a number of games on display. I ended up paying in Gary Mitchell's "Tripods" participation game, set in the UK in the 1980s and based on the background of the old BBC "Tripods" TV series. An alien vessel has crashed into a farm in deepest Somerset and a strange tripod machine stands motionless above the barn. As the local British Army commander I had to  (a) establish contact with the aliens (playing Beethoven from speakers mounted on a Challenger tank was one option), find and rescue two children of prominent government ministers who were known to be hiking in the area, obtain video and scientific data by helicopter and a few other things. Oh, and another government minister and the BBC were on hand too.

In the end my troops found the children, obtained the data and video, evacuated the children in the helicopter, attempted to make contact, then, when the aliens decided to let rip with a heat ray, put up a stout defence that ended quickly when my Challys put a couple of APDS rounds through the alien shields, completely destroying the tripod in a single salvo. Having given Johnny Alien a damned good thrashing I retired from the field  of battle with a nice cup of tea

The British Army's finest advance on the silent tripod

"How do these rules work again?"

Milan team in place, scorpions on overwatch, the Royal Greenjackets escort the rescued children away from the farm

"Get to da choppah!"

Milan team ready to fire

I grabbed a few snaps of the other games on show and then had to high tail it back to Gloucestershire, so only a flying visit. It was a fun morning, and sad to think there won't be another next year.

Friday, 6 October 2017

White Bear Red Sun

My latest publication, White Bear, Red Sun, landed at Wargame Vault this afternoonWBRS is a mini campaign covering the Russo Japanese War from the initial surprise attack on Port Arthur through to Tsushima and beyond. I'm quite pleased at how this one has turned out, after all its been about 20 years in the making!

Its based on an old series of articles and other material that I published in Battlefleet many years ago, but has been thoroughly updated and considerably added to over the years The main book comprises a brief history of the naval campaign, a set of  fast play pre-dreadnought rules (which may become available separately if there is interest in that), a self contained campaign system and a complete set of ship data for the rules allowing the campaign to be fought out over a weekend or a few club nights. As well as the main 48 page book in PDF format there are additional files with A4 and A3 versions of the campaign map, sea area control counters and ship record counters for both sides for use with the campaign system.

Depending on how these go I'll be starting work on a Spanish-American war version in the not too distant future (actually, who am I kidding, I've started already!)

 Wargame Vault Link

Thursday, 21 September 2017

Doncaster 2017

The Wings of Glory Aerodrome annual gathering took place at the Doncaster Air Museum this last weekend. I wasn't able to make the whole thing but I did get to be there for the "Ace of Aces" megadogfight on the Sunday.

Some of you may remember that when we ran the first of these events a few years back I was struck down with the lurgy - which I then inadvertently spread to many of the attendees, and that the following year I was also poorly (it seems i'm quite susceptible to colds and chest infections in the mid-September period!). Anyway, this year was similar in that I was recovering from a bout that stopped me making it to the Colours show at Newbury (well done Simon and Stuart for switching games), but family duties meant I had to be in Manchester that night and it was only an hour or so's drive across the (misty and foggy) Peak District.

My arrival was a (hopefully pleasant) surprise to many, and Tim (aka "Flying Helmut" on the Aerodrome) must have been especially pleased as it allowed him to prep his chums and give me the following welcome as we prepared for the game :D

To say I was chuffed is an understatement!

Anyway, the game was a couple of hours of "Wings" mayhem and for once I shot down more aircraft than I lost myself (4-3, although it should have been 5-3 but I was a victim of someone's dodgy maths) which learnt me a 9th place out of 30-odd players and a prize of a Barraca Nieuport 17 which was a welcome addition to my collection.

An excellent weekend, lovely as always to catch up with many old friends, an opportunity to make some new ones (and have a good old natter about mt FLoB and Action Stations rules), and made very special by having the opportunity to meet and chat with Andrea Angiolino, who as anyone who has ever met him knows is a thoroughly nice chap!

Looking forward to next year, and hoping I can make the whole weekend.